Sarah Thomas – an American female athlete who had been treated for breast cancer, became the first person to swim the Manche Strait four times without stopping for more than 54 hours.
Sarah Thomas is 37 years old and a long-distance swimmer from Colorado (USA), who completed his feat on September 17 when she finished in Dover, the coastal town of southern England in the presence of a group of supporters.
In a clip posted to Facebook, Sarah Thomas said that she was a bit tired after swimming nearly 130 miles (209km) due to the influence of the tide. According to AFP, before Thomas, only 4 athletes swam completed 3 nonstop swim sessions across the 21-mile strait between England and France.
Speaking to the BBC, Thomas said that she didn’t believe she had done it. She really just got a little numb. A lot of people on the beach came to ask her and wish her well, they are really cute, but she almost felt a little overwhelmed.
Thomas said the biggest difficulty was the saltiness of the seawater because it made her throat and mouth very painful, while being constantly jellyfish touching the face. According to Thomas’s mother, in order to complete such a long swim, every 30 minutes, she drank a mixture of protein, electrolyte and caffeine supplemented by the people on the escort, tied to the supply line.
Long-distance swimmer Lewis Pugh wrote on Twitter praising Thomas’s achievement as extraordinary, wonderful, and sublime. Before departing, Thomas posted on social media: “This swimming challenge is dedicated to all people who have overcome cancer, for those of us who have ever prayed for life, for those who have wondered in despair what something bad is going to happen, and for those who fought to overcome pain and fear”.
Thomas received a diagnosis of breast cancer four months after she completed 104.6 miles of non-stop swimming at Lake Champlain (US-Canada border) in August 2017. Because cancer cells have begun to spread to the lymph nodes under one arm, in the summer of 2018, Thomas had to undergo intensive treatment.